Many thought the Jets might be looking ahead to their Monday Night reunion with former quarterback Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings in Week 5, but New York dominated the line of scrimmage from the opening kick, scoring the first 17 points of the game and cruised to a 38-14 victory over Buffalo.
In a game where the Bills were beaten in every phase, head coach Chan Gailey pulled no punches in assessing his team's performance Sunday.
"We were a bad football team," he said. "When we protected we couldn't catch it. We couldn't protect. We had people going in the wrong spots, getting to the wrong people. We couldn't get off the field on third down. We couldn't convert a third down and we were not good on special teams. We turned the ball over twice and didn't get any turnovers. We got sacked three times and we didn't get any sacks. You play that way and you're not going to win. You're not even going to look decent in this league."
The Bills offense struggled mightily against the Jets solid defensive front. Ryan Fitzpatrick and company did not convert any of their third downs (0-10) and had just one possession that lasted more than five plays, which was their seven-play touchdown drive at the end of the first half to cut the deficit to 17-7. Unfortunately it was as close as the Bills would get.
"Offensively, we were real confident coming into the game," Fitzpatrick said. "They didn't give us anything different from what we thought they would give us. Maybe a little more zone than we thought they'd give us, but they played enough man for us to go out there and make plays and we just didn't make the plays."
New York poured it on in the second half, with three touchdown drives in the third quarter as they rolled up yardage on a Buffalo defense that looked worn out after spending 30 of the game's first 45 minutes on the field. Much like last season when the Jets amassed 567 rushing yards in two games last year against the Bills, New York rolled up 273 Sunday with both LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene eclipsing the 100-yard rushing plateau.
"We didn't play well enough to win," said Chris Kelsay. "I have no answers really for what went wrong and why they were able to run the ball as well as they did on us. I don't know."
The Bills again found it difficult to defend an athletic tight end with Dustin Keller scoring on back-to-back touchdown drives. The second Keller touchdown came off a turnover by Buffalo, when Marshawn Lynch was stripped of the ball at his own 23-yard line.
Fitzpatrick was under duress for the entire game and wound up as the Bills' leading rusher with 74 yards on seven scrambles. He was sacked three times. The Bills quarterback would lead the offense to a second touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter finishing it with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Steve Johnson, but the game had already been decided. Fitzpatrick finished the day 12-26 for 128 yards and a pair of touchdown passes.
"They blitz a lot, but you know that's coming," said Eric Wood. "We prepared for that all week. I can't really assess where we were wrong. I know I got beat, I know other people probably did, but we'll have to look at the film and see what exactly went wrong."
The Jets took the opening drive right down the field in impressive fashion. Leaning heavily on LaDainian Tomlinson, New York rolled up 63 yards on nine plays with the veteran tailback accounting for 52 of those yards including the one-yard touchdown run to put New York up 7-0.
New York would add a field goal drive early in the second quarter as Buffalo forced an incompletion on third-and-goal at the one. The Jets settled for a 19-yard field goal and a 10-0 advantage.
After a three-and-out by the Bills offense, the Jets would strike quickly again. After a pair of Shonn Greene carries gained 25 yards moving New York into Buffalo territory, Mark Sanchez dropped back and found a wide open Braylon Edwards down the far sideline for a 41-yard touchdown strike. It gave the Jets a commanding 17-0 lead late in the first half.
Buffalo was able to get the touchdown back as Ryan Fitzpatrick led a two-minute drive. The Bills signal caller hit David Nelson on back-to-back plays for 37 and 11 yards to set up 1st-and-goal from the four-yard line. Fitzpatrick capped the drive with a lofted four-yard touchdown pass to David Martin to make 17-7 at the half.
With the loss the Bills fall to 0-4. It's the first time they've begun a season 0-4 since 2004. It's new territory for Gailey, but he's determined to pull his team out of the early season hold they find themselves in.
"You have to evaluate everything," Gailey said. "I don't have a magic wand. I don't. I made the statement before that there's no substitute for hard work. We have to go back and evaluate everything and look at everything and see what we can be successful at. That's something that you have to continually do on a weekly basis, but we've got to get better and I don't know that I've ever been here before, but I think I understand about how to get out of it."
Buffalo plays host to Jacksonville next Sunday. Kickoff is at 1 pm.